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babsbunny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 10:17 AM
Original message
Acorn Foes Face Trial for Undercover Film Work
http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/05/26/36872.htm

By MARIA DINZEO

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The First Amendment does not protect the conduct of two conservative activists who secretly filmed an employee of the national community organizing group Acorn, a federal judge ruled.
Juan Carlos Vera claimed James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles visited his office in August 2009, and conspired to create video and audio tapes of him, even after asking him if their conversation would be confidential. The Acorn acronym stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
O'Keefe and Giles are best known for going undercover to discredit organizations like Acorn and Planned Parenthood. In some visits, Giles posed as a prostitute and O'Keefe as her concerned boyfriend, seeking advice from Acorn about how to run a tax-free brothel for underage sex workers. O'Keefe is often characterized as posing as a pimp since he wore "stereotypical 1970s pimp garb" in the opening and closing scenes of certain videos he released, but he wore a shirt and tie in the actual encounters, according to the California Attorney General's Office.
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. The First Amendment doesn't protect lying & spying. Never has.
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Agreed. But the number of people ON THIS SITE who think it does protect lying
is ... considerable!
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Your basic lie might be protected speech. Defamation, not so much.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Tell that to 60 Minutes or any other undercover investigation by the media
Not defending this trash, but depending on how things are worded legitimate investigative journalism may be at risk too,
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Beaverhausen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I think to broadcast someone that you have recorded, you have to get their permission
60 Minutes and others blur out faces of those they don't have a signed release from.

O'Keefe did no such thing. He ruined the lives of many people with this stunt and I hope he pays dearly.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Technically that is not required for news and 60 Minutes does not always do that.


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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. You won't see 60 Minutes telling someone they're speaking in confidence while filming & taping.
Edited on Thu Jun-02-11 11:48 AM by DirkGently
Privacy laws vary, but generally you can't lie to someone's face that you're speaking privately while recording them. I don't think that restriction threatens First Amendment freedoms.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Undercover filming/recording of any sorts means people have been lied to along the way
There are some differences between states on one party and two party permissions for surreptitious recordings. There is no law that says you can not do similar things, providing you are in public or in a single party state. Also if there is a sign declaring the property is monitored, there is no expectation of privacy (multiple court rulings).

The courts have held that cops can lie all they want and record things, etc with out penalty.




Again, we need to be careful that in our zeal to squash the scam artists, we do not cripple legitimate investigative journalism in the process.

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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. The way the CA law is described, it doesn't sound overbroad.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Here is the law being cited in the civil suit, CA Penal Code 632
(a) Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a
confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording
device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the
communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or
by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or
imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by
both that fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a
violation of this section or Section 631, 632.5, 632.6, 632.7, or 636, the person
shall be punished by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by
imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison, or by
both that fine and imprisonment.
. . .
(c) The term confidential communication includes any communication
carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the
communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto, but excludes a
communication made in a public gathering or in any legislative, judicial, executive
or administrative proceeding open to the public, or in any other circumstance in
which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the
communication may be overheard or recorded.
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Just requires consent, then. Far as I know that type of thing's been upheld.

I don't think it's unreasonable.

What I wonder is why this isn't some kind of defamation or false light action. ACORN didn't actually volunteer to help traffic in underage prostitution, which is what O'Keefe & Co. implied.

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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. Poor James!
How will he ever afford to pay an attorney? Because you know the money from his sugar daddies is going to dry up when he becomes damaged goods. They're paying for results, not to defend a trial. Wouldn't it be ironic if O'Keefe had to actually prostitute himself to earn the money to defend himself?
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Drew Richards Donating Member (507 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. The key is Absence of Malice

60 minutes and other investigative journalists under the shield law must avoid stating outright false hoods or editing to present a malicious and denegrating characterization of a person in direct conflict to the original answers or tape.

Kweefe edited with intent and forsight to cause damage with potentially malicious intent. This is what everything will hang on in the end.
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-02-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. That's a defamation standard. For whatever reason, this suit's about violation of privacy.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. It appears to be an eaiser case to make
Defamation cases are notoriously hard to win.
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